27 July 2012

Dear Arcata

This week I'm leaving you. It's not you, it's me. Actually it's my husband. No, actually it's God.  I knew I couldn't stay here when I showed up.  I'm sad, but not disappointed.

Arcata, I'm writing to say thank you.  Thank you for one year's vacation.  Thank you for giving me the gift of knowing myself better.  Thank you for space to breathe.  Thank you for convincing me to finally get those red streaks in my hair.  When I get back to Oklahoma there will be teal, or maybe purple.  So people will know I'm yours.

And I am.  I fit in here.  It's so ethereal and mostly indescribable, but I've never felt more at home.  Everyone seems to think the way I do.  Or when they don't, it's okay.  A Rent lyric sums it up best: "To being an 'us' for once, instead of a 'them'!"

The fact that I came here, "found my geographical bliss" (to quote my father), and am now being boomeranged back to where I came from sounds pretty unfair from the outside, I guess.  But it doesn't feel that way to me.  There's an important feeling that I want to remember -- The way I feel in Oklahoma is the way we should all feel here on earth.  It's not the place I'm supposed to be, and now I know that there is somewhere better.  The Promised Land is waiting for me.  But first I have to go through the desert.  (Arcata, in this metaphor you are Canaan.)

An apt metaphor, I think, considering your amazing beauty and fertility.  Here nothing struggles to survive.  Everything just grows.  The trees are enormous, the plants are colorful.  Even the bugs are totally chill.  And most importantly, the sun is our friend, not our enemy. 

But I'll be on the lookout for you, Arcata.  And whenever I find your spirit in Oklahoma, I'll stick close.  And when I don't find it, I'll remember you.  I'll remember how I felt every time I saw hitchhikers on the Plaza, or a young woman riding her bike in a skirt with her yoga mat strapped across her back. The way I felt the first time I heard a Christian over the age of 50 make a joke at the expense of the Republican Party.  How amused I was when I realized that my city-issued recycling trash can is 5 times larger than my city-issued garbage trash can.  The generous and nomadic spirit embodied in the numerous front yard "free piles" that pop up every week.

Maybe someday I'll be back. You are where old hippies go to die, after all.


17 July 2012

Vacation 2012: Twin Peaks

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

We decided that the best possible use of time in the Seattle metro area would be to visit the cafe where they filmed Twin Peaks. (Which is a TV show from the early '90s. And also a weird movie.) 

So after we waited two and a half hours in the line of cars to get out of Canada (long weekend for the Canadians), we got to keep driving!  And then we were coming up on the Seattle area and the traffic was getting pretty bad, so I looked at the atlas and found a back road to take.  This turned out to be quite serendipitous, as this route also took us past the waterfall and hotel that were also featured on the show!

[Snoqualmie Falls]

That was definitely worth the half hour it took us to park, get out of the car, look at the falls, and browse the gift shop.  It was strangely thrilling.  My guess is that it was the combination of us having car-cabin-fever, the unexpectedness of stumbling across it, and of course the nerd factor.

[My hair decided that it was also very excited.]

Then we kept driving (I'm sensing a theme...) and finally found the cafe!  Twede's, as it is now known.  Now, unlike the Ovaltine Cafe (from the last post), Twede's looks almost nothing like it did in the show on the inside.  This is because the interior was destroyed in a fire (arson, for pity's sake) in 2000.  The sign survived, however, and they rebuilt. 

The other difference between the Ovaltine Cafe and Twede's is that the people in charge of Twede's know the score!  They sell mugs, t-shirts, magnets, frisbees, and even hand-drawn maps of Twin Peaks filming locations.  They've got a "Twin Peaks" burger on the menu, and they always have plenty of coffee and cherry pie.  So that made it pretty fun.  (Also, the food was really good!)


All along the back wall by the restrooms, they have a bunch of newspaper clippings about filming and the fire, and quite a few shots from the show.

[Oh, Audrey Horne.]

[Best in the tri-counties.]

I would have insisted that we go find the sheriff station from the show, but it was getting late, and we still had to drive to Portland!

[And there was the part where I convinced Norman to talk to Diane on the voice recorder while I took videos. Oh yes he did.]

13 July 2012

Vacation 2012: X-Files

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

And by "X-Files", I mean X-Files filming locations in Vancouver, British Columbia.  This was the whole point of our trip, actually. Well, not the X-Files part, but the Vancouver part, certainly.  I visited about 11 years ago to see a college I wanted to attend (didn't work out; God is good), and I've been wanting to get back ever since. Well since we live about 12 hours away by car, uh, yeah, we had to go before we move back to the middle of the country.

We did a bunch in our three days, four nights, but as the title suggests, I'm just going to focus on the X-File-y stuff. Because this is my blog and I do what I want.

Now, even though I was completely geeking out, there were still some limits to the nerdiness. 1.) Three-year-old in tow, which meant we tried not to plan too many things for one day, and we needed to be home in time for dinner. 2.) Husband in tow, which meant that attractions had to be independently interesting, aside from the fact that the X-Files was filmed there.

The first day we focused on Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium.

Independently cool factors: Dolphins, penguins, narwhal statue, hummus and veggies lunch plate, and kids' play area.


X-Files cool factor: Scene from first season episode "E.B.E." with Deep Throat and Mulder was filmed in front of the shark tank.

[That's David Duchovny, I promise.]

Day Two, Grouse Mountain.

Independently cool factors: a beautiful view of beautiful scenery, fun skyride, birds of prey exhibit, grizzly bear habitat, family-friendly yet innuendo-filled lumberjack show, and POUTINE!
(You may also recognize it as NBC's broadcast "studio" for the 2010 Winter Olympics.)



[Canada food]

X-Files cool factor: Season two episode "Ascension" filmed on the skyride gondolas.

On Day Three, we took a walking (and walking, and walking, and huffing, and puffing) tour around downtown to see a couple different sights, including...

Robson Square


X-Files cool factor: More than one episode was filmed here, but the Lone Gunmen ice skated on the ice rink!

[Promo photo, not a screen capture. Unfortunately.]

Vancouver Art Gallery


X-Files cool factor: Used as the exterior for a university library in the episode "Synchrony" (which is a pretty decent stand-alone hour of sci-fi television).

Ovaltine Cafe

Independently cool factors: Really old, really crappy, really cheap cruddy old diner smack dab in the emphatically worst part of Vancouver (and probably the whole of British Columbia).


X-Files cool factor: Several scenes from "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" were filmed here.  "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" is hysterical.  It's really, really funny.  That may or may not hold true if you've never watched an episode of the X-Files.

Other fandoms cool factor: Episodes of Fringe and Da Vinci's Inquest, and scenes from the movies I, Robot and The Butterfly Effect.

Actually, the Ovaltine Cafe was one of the places I managed to talk my parents into hitting up when we went for that college visit.

[17-year-old me]

The place hasn't changed in at least the last 16 years (since the X-Files was filmed there).  Pretty sure it's looked exactly the same, and perhaps has been using the same plates since it opened in... whenever long time ago.

[27-year-old me and progeny]

And yes, we ate there. Ick.

[Supernaturally fluffy pancakes. There has to be a scientific explanation for this.]

And the whole thing was fun and special, and the realization of a long-time dream, one I thought I had laid to rest when I watched the 2010 Winter Olympics from my couch instead of in real life like 18-year-old me had been planning.

10 July 2012

Vacation 2012: Portland

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

Portland!  As some sort of hipster, Norman certainly needed to visit.  It was lovely, though we didn't spend much time there.  We visited two main attractions: IKEA and SCRAP.  Yes, both of these places are spelled with all caps.  That's because they are both so exciting.

We decided to visit the IKEA because 1.) I'd never been to an IKEA and by all accounts it's a wonderland of fabulousness, and 2.) The Portland IKEA has a fabric-by-the-yard section, which is apparently uncommon.

 [It was even cloudy!]

It pretty much fulfilled all of my wildest expectations.  Beautiful showroom (including at least three displays of full apartments under 900 sq. ft.) (I have a slight obsession with tiny spaces, even though I could never live in one), cheap products that offer clever solutions to household organization problems, and cheap, interesting food.  On Facebook I called it an amusement park for grownups, which I guess isn't quite right because grownups like actual amusement parks.  Maybe it's an amusement park for the Pinterest set.  Which I am kind of a part of even though I don't have a Pinterest account.

[Spinach and cheese crepes (meh), fried chicken BBQ wrap (yum), IKEA chocolate bars (yes, please!)]

I bought a set of dish cloths, a set of washcloths with little loops on the corners for hanging, two down/feather pillows, and two sets of these shelves/drawers for my craft room.  Unfortunately they have to stay in their packages until after we move.  Sad.

Then we headed on over to SCRAP.  Lucy fell asleep, which meant I got to go in by myself!  It was like a vacation from my vacation!

SCRAP is a magical place.  It looks like this.  They sell recycled craft supplies.  Some of which are actual craft supplies, and some of which are just other recycled things.

I bought a ton of stuff (including a stack of interesting paper for making journals, a bunch of film reels, and about 50 very large manila envelopes for $2), and spent less than $14.

(There are other places like this SCRAP around the country and the world.  Check out this directory.)

[Aaaand that's an industrial laundry hamper FULL of zippers. 25 cents a piece!]

So even though we didn't spend much time in Portland, and we didn't really hit any tourist spots, it was a ton of fun!

01 July 2012

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 23 (the last)

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1878.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years one year in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father. 



Sat, Mar. 26.

I went to town today and sent Forest some money.
This afternoon we baked. We made three cakes. It rained so that no one could come. I was so tired that I was almost sick.

Sun, Mar. 27.

I didn't go to church this morning, but went this evening. Herman came in after church.

Mon, Mar. 28.

We washed today. I went to school in the morning.

Tues, Mar. 29.

We finished the ironing this afternoon.
Herman spent the evening with me.

Wed, Mar. 30.

Ella went to prayer meeting with Mr. Rodert. I stayed at home and studied.

Thurs, Mar. 31.

We are sewing. Ella is making a dress skirt for herself.

Fri, Apr. 1.

I went down town and interviewed Mr. Allen about my getting a school in Westport.
Papa got me a percal [sic] dress.

Sat, Apr. 2.

We sewed all day. I washed my hair in the afternoon, and took cold.
I didn't get to go to the business meeting this evening.
Emma went to the door to meet Herman, when I was out in the kitchen. I didn't get to say half a dozen words to him. It was so late when they got home, that he didn't come in.

Sun, Apr. 3.

I didn't go to church today. My cold is worse. I [sic] has rained all day. I wrote to Laura H. Herman is coming tonight. I'm afraid it will be to [sic] muddy and damp for me to go out with my cold.


Haha! What an ending! Like a TV show that got cancelled in the middle of the season.

What happens after this?  Well, in June of 1899 (over a year from the end of the journal!), Herman and Jessie got married at Jessie's family's home.  A little over a year after that, on July 26, 1900, Jessie died giving birth to her twins Conrad and Cornelia.  (Conrad was named after Herman's father; Cornelia after Jessie's mother.)  Conrad and Cornelia's stories are told in part here.

I borrowed Cornelia's travel journals from another family member and scanned them.  I will share some of them here shortly.